Joseph L. “Chief” Coulter, age 80, of Janesville died on Thursday, May 9, 2019. He was born in Janesville on December 25, 1938, the son of the late Gay and Barbara (Marty) Coulter. In 1957, he married Maureen Hull and together they had 5 children. On February 10, 1969, he married Judy P. Alme, who had two children, and together Judy and Chief had one more child.
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Chief passed peacefully at home after battling with esophageal cancer for nearly a year. However, his competitive spirit wasn’t to be denied, and since the cancer technically died with him, we will call it a tie. He attended Janesville High School where he excelled in Football, Swimming and Baseball, lettering in all 3 sports for a total of nine times. As a senior, he captured the American Legion Award. After graduating in 1957, he signed with the Kansas City Athletics baseball team. He couldn’t believe he would get paid for doing what he loved - he would have happily done it for free.
After leaving the Kansas City Athletics, Chief went to work at General Motors where he worked for a decade. After GM, he went on to make fur S#!t at Monterey Mills for over 30 years. This fur $#!t covered various surfaces of his home for many years.
Chief had a love of sports and coaching that lasted a lifetime. He took a lot of pride teaching 4th warders about the fundamentals of sports and the importance of respect. He organized countless neighborhood stick-ball games. He was a huge influence for many kids through the years, but he would say that they taught him more than he taught them. He coached Little League, Babe Ruth, and was a manager of the Janesville Aces. He was named Manager of the Year for the semi-pro team in 1988, 1989 and 1990.
Some of Chief’s loves included going to the dog track in Delavan and listening to baseball games in the garage while having a beer or two. He actively followed youth, high school and college sports. He faithfully attended his grandchildren’s sporting events whenever possible. He never met a deal he didn’t like. He was a frugal, smart shopper and dedicated coupon clipper. He kept piles of coupons for everyone. If you came by and mentioned something, he’d go find a coupon for you. He loved to go to the grocery store. We still have cases of diced tomatoes. We had so many cans of tuna one year, that each of the 8 kids and their families received cans for Christmas. He loved cooking on the grill and was known to cook enough for a whole team, just in case. He was not into new technology and had all he could handle with his flip phone. But he did love his High-Def TV, he could really see the flies buzzing over the carcasses on National Geographic Wild. He could even stream his grandson’s hockey games in Indiana while sitting on his favorite chair in the sunroom he loved. He was addicted to crime channels. He loved all kinds of music from 40’s to the present. He especially enjoyed Christmas music which he could listen to all year long.
He loved his Florida vacations. He demonstrated utmost patience traveling with 8 school-aged children in the family station wagon, in trips that could have inspired National Lampoon's Vacation. He had patience, except for maybe when the luggage flew off the roof and clothes spilled all over the highway in a blizzard. It also may have been tested the year that all 8 kids came back with live lizards for 24 hour long car ride. We came close several times, but we never lost a kid (though some came back slightly banged up or stitched up). Chief was a true gentleman. He listened. He never judged. He always backed the underdog. He loved a good-looking lawn. Lest you think he was perfect, he did have his pet peeves. He hated to find half full cans of soda or beer. He had zero patience for braggarts. He wasn’t a handyman, but he hated the kids taking his tools. And he didn’t like it if you left the lights on (or oven) or wasted food. He helped with the laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, however, he would have slept on a bare mattress before he’d make a bed.
Chief was a people person. He liked the simple things in life. He wasn’t a rich man by monetary standards but he lived a rich life. He was happiest coaching, teaching, being with his family, or sitting in the garage having a beer.
He is survived by his wife of over 50 years: Judy; his children: Joseph K. Coulter, Carol Glynn, Tony (Julie) Coulter, Susie Potter, Jimmy (Mel) Coulter, all of Janesville, Angie (Randy) Rose of Louisville, CO, Christopher (Jennifer) Armstrong of Verona, WI, and Charlie (Jenny) Coulter of Roanoke, IN; and his grandchildren of whom he was very proud: Chester, Sam, Matt, Kelsey, Tucker, Julian, Andre, Molly, Ben, Keaton, Bailey, Joey, Payton and Sophie; and his brother and sister-in-law: Gaylord and Judi Coulter of Janesville. He is further survived by brothers and sisters-in-law: Winkie and Donnie McSherry, Lucy and Mick Solberg, Richard Alme, Rita and Milo Millis, and Jean Alme-Perks and her husband Bob; and his mother-in-law: Nancy Christensen. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his mother and father-in-law: Arnie and Evelyn Alme; sister-in-law: Lynn Alme; and brother-in-law: Jack Alme.
A visitation will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 from 3:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Whitcomb – Lynch Funeral Home. A Celebration honoring and remembering “Chief’s” life will continue on Saturday afternoon from 1:00 PM until 4:00 PM at Sidelines Sports Pub and Grill, 731 S. Wuthering Hills Dr. Memories of Chief’s life will be presented by Tim Cullen. In lieu of flowers, memorials would be greatly appreciated if they were made to Agrace HospiceCare or Janesville Boys Baseball.
A very warm and heartfelt thank you to the Doctors, Nurses, and staff at SSM Health Clinic in Janesville for the wonderful care and friendship given to Chief during his illness. Thank you also to the entire team at Agrace HospiceCare for the excellent support and care given to Chief and his family during his final journey. All of you are true Angels!